February 13, 2009
ACWA upset over increase of sexually abused girls

The Anglican Church Women Association is deeply concerned and upset about the growing social problem of the sexual abuse and molestation of young girls as revealed in the high incidences of teenage pregnancies, and the seduction and rape of under-aged girls, a press release said.{{more}}

ACWA calls on the entire population to sit up and take note, since the problem is not only deeply rooted in the societal norms and practices, but is also driven by greed. It features the sexual exploitation of the powerless, the voiceless and the uninformed, mostly our young females, our future bearers, caregivers and nurturers of the up-coming generation.

The statistics revealed at the Nurses 13th Annual Perinatal and Mortality/Morbidity Conference informed the nation that 366 (or 20%) of births were delivered to teenagers and, alarmingly, three of these young mothers were under the age of 13 years.

The release said that this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The wider problem is the mass of young people who are sexually active and practising unprotected sex, and what this may mean for the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. This must surely impact on the economy, the labour force, health and indeed, the very quality of life of the nation. Is the phenomenon of children bearing children sparking off a spiral of decaying morals that is fomenting lawlessness and social dysfunction?

Perhaps the most upsetting aspect of these realities is the role of adults. In homes, mothers uphold the rape of their daughters’ innocence by spouses and boyfriends for material gain. Mature males act as predators cynically pursuing young girls for selfish sexual desires, covering up their sins with the flash of dollars and sundry material things. For these reasons, agencies such as the Hospital, the Family Courts, and the Police are foiled in their efforts to bring justice to the victims and punish the callous offenders. The emotional/psychological trauma of these young girls has to be internalized (at what cost?) since their efforts to speak out and denounce the offenders are often met with brutal beatings by parents, thereby silencing protest.

In the wider society there is the phenomenon some have called the “sexualization” of young girls. Under the mantra of “sex sells”, commercial and cultural activities shamelessly exploit the sexuality of young females. Scantily clad females are used in commercials to sell everything from beers to cell phones and young girls are encouraged from an early age to flaunt their bodies in skimpy, tight-fitting outfits that have become the norm of female attire. Music and song graphically detail the sex act, and videos, magazines and the Internet demonstrate depraved behaviour that draw the young into a cesspool of immorality, which they regret as they become mature and gain in understanding of their human condition.

ACWA affirms the right of girls and young females to protection from sexual exploitation and to the pursuit of happiness, careers, and all such entitlements that are due them as God’s children and citizens of our State. ACWA calls on the legal authorities to tighten all loopholes that allow the travesty of the ganging up of adults against the weak, vulnerable young girls of our society. Once there is bona fide evidence against the accused, the full weight of the law must be heavily applied on both the perpetrator and the upholder, the release said.

The church, women’s organizations and the rest of civil society must assert themselves and vigorously confront this ugly problem. The pivotal role of the woman in generating societal well-being is what is at stake here. This role is ordained by our heavenly Father.

To condone the sexual abuse of our young females, even by our inaction, is to court unacceptable social decay and disaster. ACWA calls on all of society to act now in defense of our moral status as a society founded on the belief in God.